Published On: Fri, Jan 12th, 2024

Fast fashion brand Boohoo incorrectly labelled thousands of garments as ‘made in UK’ | City & Business | Finance

Retailer Boohoo added “Made in UK” labels on possibly “thousands of clothes” made in South Asia, a BBC Panorama investigation has found.

Plain T-shirts and hoodies had their original labels removed at Boohoo’s flagship factory in Leicester between January and October last year.

A spokesperson from the fast fashion retailer blamed the mislabelling on a “human error” and said it was an “isolated incident”.

It added: “We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.”

Boohoo is now considering closing its Leicester factory, which employees less than 100 people, and relocating operation.

The industrial building has been open for less than two years and comes as the brand has faced scrutiny over its actions surrounding ethical clothing.

Last year, the same BBC investigation found that the company’s Manchester headquarters was pressuring suppliers to cut prices, even after deals had been finalised.

It comes around three years after the company overhauled its ethical practices after a supply chain scandal and allegations over factory staff pay and working conditions.

Boohoo said at the time of the initial Panorama investigation that it “has not shied away from dealing with the problems of the past and we have invested significant time, effort and resource into driving positive change across every aspect of our business and supply chain.”

The BBC estimates that thousands of garments – up to one in 250 of Boohoo’s global supply – were wrongly labelled. However, the retailer would not provide its own figures.

The garments had been shipped from Pakistan and other countries in South Asia to Boohoo’s Leicester factory where they were printed on.

Sylvia Rook, lead officer for fair trading at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said that based on information provided by Panorama, replacing country-of-origin labels with “Made in the UK” ones in this way was “incorrect” and “could potentially mislead consumers”.

Philip Dunne MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, called the labelling findings a potentially very serious allegation.

He said: “Consumers should not be misled as to the source of garments that they’re buying.”

A Boohoo spokesperson added: “We opened Thurmaston Lane in January 2022 to support the group in several ways, including manufacturing, printing, and training.

“As in any retail business, the role of our sites continues to evolve over time and following significant investments at our Sheffield distributions centre and the opening of new distribution centre in the USA, we must now take steps to continue to ensure we are a more efficient, productive and strengthened business.”

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